SAN DIEGO — For years, I passed a co-worker of mine in the hallway at KFMB Stations, never knowing the challenge he was facing. In this Zevely Zone, I am honored to share the story of Brian Thole, who is a Marketing Producer at News 8.
"It's been a roller coaster pretty much my entire life," Brian said.
We met at Mission Bay. He had just completed a four-mile run. Brian told me weight gain has been a lifelong battle for him. "Sugar was absolutely my demon, pretty much since I was out of the crib," Brian said.
He grew up in Minnesota as a three-sport athlete in high school. "I grew up as a chubby kid, but I was still athletic," said Brian.
It seemed throughout his life, no matter how much he exercised, the weight kept coming.
"5'9" [and] 340 pounds is the best way I can put it. Live in that body for 20 seconds and you will be screaming to get out of it," said Brian.
Each year, he grew even heavier. "It's really hard to look at those pictures, really, really hard," said Brian.
Finally, when his cholesterol and blood pressure went off the charts, his doctor made an ominous prediction. "She told me I may not make it to 45 if I keep going the way that I am going," said Brian. B
Believe it or not, it was Brian's love for hockey that made him sign up gastric bypass surgery.
"Skating was excruciating on my ankles, absolutely excruciating," Brian said to me. "Hockey is my passion. It's my number one love in life."
As many have heard, gastric bypass surgery isn't a magic fix, which is why Brian has been training for a half marathon for the past four months. He's running more than 25 miles a day. You should see him on a treadmill. Those workouts have lead to a lean and mean 188 pounds and Brian wants to celebrate by running the Carlsbad Half Marathon.
"I've never done any race of any kind before. I've never even done a 5K," said Brian.
Now, after losing 160 pounds, the guy that used to run away from cameras will sprint toward a finish line.
"That's probably the greatest thing about losing all of this weight is that I am not afraid of a camera anymore. I almost jump right in front of it," said Brian.
"You are the incredible shrinking man," I said.
"The way that I put it is that I went from blimp to wimp," said Brian. "I'm almost afraid to lose more weight because I'll get pushed around on a hockey rink like crazy."
Again, Brian is a co-worker of mine at News 8 and he does promotions for a living.
I had a challenge for him. "Write the promo for yourself for your own story!" I said.
He scratched his head and said, "Oh man, this may be the toughest one I've ever written."
He's only done it tens of thousands of times.
"Zevely, you're killing me here," Brian said. "This is toughest script I've ever written. Oh God, we may be here all day."
Leave it to a hockey player to shoot, score and sell his own story. Finally Brian said, "Living proof that anything in life is possible, right here. Believe me, just watch the story you'll be shocked."
I will be at the finish line on Sunday at the Carlsbad Half Marathon to watch Brian hug his parents who are flying in from Minnesota for his special day.